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USB Pocket Flash Drive Roundup

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Posted December 13, 2005 by admin in Storage
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Introduction

Many years ago transferring data from one PC to another was a very tedious process. The options available would have been floppy, CD-R, or Zip style drives, which came along much later than the latter two but were a huge success while they lasted. The problem was that since the floppy drive, nothing really came along to replace its ease of use and guaranteed access from 99.9% of PC?s worldwide. Sure, CD-R or RW is great for archiving or for taking data from one place to another when you?re in no rush, but it is not ideal for moving data too and fro on a continuous basis. It was not designed for this and it shows.

Then we move to Zip drives. They were a great idea, and for the time 100MB was a lot of storage. The only real downfall was that many PC?s would not have zip drives installed, and if you had the external model you would have to install the very flimsy drivers every time you encountered a different machine. When you need access to data ASAP and the only person who can install the drivers for you is a system admin, you can bet your bottom dollar he/she is too busy tinkering with the main server to bother. I?ve probably missed a few technologies out (remember Jazz drives?) but in general they all worked on the same principals.

So, this moves us on neatly to USB Flash drives, which are solid state storage device that have gained massive popularity in the last few years, and with very good reason. All new PC?s from the last six years have USB ports and no drivers are necessary (though sometimes software is for access to security features), it?s plug & play at its finest. Equally great are the high capacities on offer, which are growing all the time. Some manufacturers offer 4GB drives, though the price does grow very high at this point. Another plus point is that the drives work no different from within Windows to a hard drive. Flash drives are the most convenient solution for moving your data from A to B.

Of course, all this plug & play stuff would be worth nothing if these drives did not perform well but luckily the read/write times are much more bearable than the older technologies thanks to the benefits that come with using Flash memory.

In this round-up I?ll be looking at six USB flash drives, some no frills but with a price worthy of consideration, and others with all the bells and whistle some out there may find essential. On test are the following drives:

??Corsair Flash Voyager 512MB
??Crucial Gizmo! 512MB
??Geil David 512MB
??Kingston DataTraveler II + Migo 512MB
??Kingston DataTraveler Elite 1GB
??OCZ Rally 512MB

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